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Outbound Network Sluggish?

26 September 2001

The portion of the university's Ethernet that serves the residence halls is engineered to ensure good performance for content consumers rather than content providers. Each of approximately 10,000 student residents is provided a 10 Mbps Ethernet port. Download performance (data transferred from a content provider to your computer) is quite good, despite the fact that so many 10 Mbps users are sharing what amounts to a 100 Mbps connection between the campus and the Internet.

Downloads from the Internet to the campus can work well only if this 100 Mbps access pipe isn't saturated in the direction from campus to the Internet. It takes only a very small number of content providers on campus to generate enough traffic to completely saturate the connection to the outside world. In order to prevent this from happening, Communications Network Services employs traffic conditioning techniques to ensure that traffic sourced from residence halls and destined for the Internet remains at levels low enough to ensure that the pipe doesn't become fully saturated. This traffic conditioning ensures that the aggregate of all traffic that flows from residence halls to the Internet never exceeds 65 Mbps. This 100 Mbps "pipe" provides Internet access for the entire campus, not just residence halls, so a substantial portion is allocated to student network activity.

If users would simply turn off file sharing in Morpheus, KaZaA, etc, outbound transfers would be substantially faster. Most people install the software and leave file sharing enabled (it's on by default), which means that millions of people around the world are congesting the outbound pipe of the university by downloading files from student computers here. Many of those same people probably wouldn't care if they weren't sharing their own files, but were still able to access files shared by others.

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